Sections in this issue:
1) Zephaniah Goins Fought in Yorktown Campaign;
2) Thomas Jefferson Gowen Got A Second Chance in Texas;
3) Dear Cousins.
All Gowen Manuscript Pages and Newsletters: https://goyengoinggowengoyneandgone.com/gowen-research-foundation-pages-and-info/
GOWEN RESEARCH FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER
Volume 5, No. 3 November 1993
1) Zephaniah Goins Fought in
By Jack Harold Goins
Editorial Board Member
Route 2, Box 275, Rogersville, TN, 37857
Zephaniah Goins, son of John Going and Elizabeth Going, and
my seventh-generation grandfather, was born about 1758 in
Halifax County, Virginia. He enlisted in the Virginia troops
during the American Revolution and was present at the Battle of
Yorktown when Cornwallis surrendered in October 1781.
Zephaniah Goins, a Melungeon, was married to Elizabeth
Thompson June 20, 1790 by Rev. Joseph Anthony of Henry
County, Virginia. She was the daughter of William Thompson
and Mary Estes Thompson.
“Zephaniah Going” was a resident of Rockingham County, Virginia
in 1795, according to the research of Pamela R. Lawson
Jenkins, family researcher of Franklin, Tennessee. He appeared
as the head of a household in the 1810 census of the county.
Soon afterward he removed to Tennessee, according to the research
of Wanda Aldridge of Dyer, Arkansas.
Learning that Zephaniah Goins and Elizabeth Thompson Goins
had joined Blackwater Primitive Baptist Church by dismission
letter from another church which was unnamed, I began trying
to locate this church. In the Blackwater minutes, 1816 to 1834,
I found four seventh-generation grandfathers who served in the
Revolutionary War: Thomas Bledsoe, Henry Fisher, John England
and Zephaniah Goins.
While searching in the public library in Kingsport, Tennessee, I
found the minutes of neighboring Stoney Creek Primitive Baptist
Church at Ft. Blackmore, Virginia, just across the state line.
They contained some very interesting Melungeon references in
the minutes recorded in 1813. The term “Melungeon” was probably
in common usage long before then, but this is the first time
I have found it recorded.
Ft. Blackmore was built at Stoney Creek, in Washington
County, Virginia before the Revolutionary War by Capt. John
Blackmore to protect the settlers from Indian attacks. Ft.
Blackmore was located about eight miles southwest of present
day Dungannon, Virginia in Scott County. In 1780 Capt.
Blackmore’s militiamen participated in the victory over the
Cherokees in the Battle of Boyd’s Creek.
While driving through this small town trying to form a picture
of what this place looked like 200 years ago, I stopped at a
church called Pine Grove Primitive Baptist Church. Residents
told me that this site was where old Stoney Creek Primitive
Baptist Church had been located. I learned that the old building
had been washed away in a flood. I was told the old fort was
about where Stoney Creek flows into the Clinch River and tried
to visualize this place where my forebears were stationed during
the Revolutionary War.
Grandfather Thomas Bledsoe was in Capt. Blackmore’s command.
He filed his Revolutionary War pension application in
Hawkins County April 24, 1834. He was born in March 1760 in
North Carolina and moved with his parents to the new territory,
about seven miles from Long Islands of the Holston River, on
Reedy Creek. It is now the site of present day Kingsport, Tennessee.
After the Battle of Kings Mountain, peace returned to
the Clinch River valley briefly.
Reference has been made in the Foundation Newsletter earlier to
a letter written by Capt. John Sevier in which he describes the
physical appearance of the Melungeons upon first encountering
them. He patrolled in the Trans-Appalachian area of Virginia
and Tennessee during Lord Dunmore’s War in 1774.
John Murray Lord Dunmore, the Earl of Dunmore, was appointed
governor of Virginia in 1771, and an Indian war erupted
during the third year of his tenure which was thereafter called
Lord Dunmore’s War.
A band of white marauders led by a desperado named
Greathouse attacked an Indian village and killed several of the
tribesmen. An Indian chieftain, John Logan, known to the tribe
as Tahgahjute, took to the warpath to avenge the death of his
sister and other kinsmen in the raid. John Logan, son of
Shikellamy, was born in 1725. Shikellamy was a white man
who had been captured by the Cuyugas while a child. He grew
up in the tribe, married an Indian woman and became a chief.
Believing that the troops of Capt. Michael Cresap were responsible
for the raid and the murders, John Logan sent him a declaration
of hostilities. This was the begining of Lord Dunmore’s
War which saw the frontier become a blazing battleground.
Gov. Dunmore did his utmost to restore peace and was able to
bring the Shawnee Chief Cornstalk to a parley after the Battle of
Point Pleasant, but Logan shunned the peace talks and continued
the fighting which was a prelude to the Revolutionary War.
When the Revolution began, Logan served the British cause and
wreaked havoc on the frontier settlements. In addition to Cuyugas,
the Mingoes, Cherokees, Shawnees, Chickasaws, Creeks
and Chickamaugas went on the warpath from time to time, all
supplied and encouraged by the British. During the Revolution,
Logan led a charmed life and did not receive a scratch, but was
killed in 1780 near Lake Erie by a nephew that he had attacked.
Lord Dunmore fared little better. In April 1775 Patrick Henry at
the head of the Hanover Minute Men forced Dunmore to flee his
office and take refuge on a British war vessel lying off Yorktown.
In retaliation, Dunmore ordered Norfolk, the largest town
in Virginia at that time, to be burned. This outrage united the
Virginians in their resolve, and the British quickly order Dunmore
out of the colony in 1776.
Lord Dunmore’s War was not the last time that John Sevier was
associated with the Melungeons. He was born in New Market,
Virginia in Rockingham County in 1745. In 1776, he was one
of the first to settle on the Watauga River west of the Appalachians
when Tennessee was opened for settlement. Melungeons on
the Watauga were then his neighbors.
Col. Sevier was one of the commanders in the Battle of Kings
Mountain in 1780, and Melungeon militiamen were included in
his command. Later in that year, Col. Sevier led an expedition
against the Cherokee Indians. Included in his command was the
militia company of Capt. Blackmore and its Melungeons.
He helped to organize the Free State of Franklin [which embraced
the Melungeons] and became its governor in 1784.
Feeling that he was leading an insurrection, the officials of
North Carolina arrested Sevier and convicted him of high treason.
Later he was pardoned. Ten years later he was elected the
first governor of Tennessee.
The Stoney Creek minutes are complete from 1801 to 1811.
Then from 1811 to 1814 there are intermittent skips. The first
minutes dated November 14, 1801 reveal that it was an existing
church and adding new members rapidly. Meetings were held
on the second Saturday of each month.
The minutes reveal that the congregation was composed of
whites, Melungeons, free Negroes and slaves. During the next
four years, 88 new members were added; 33 of these were persons
bearing familiar Melungeon names: Gibson, Collins, More
[Moore], Bolin, Bolling, Sexton, Osborne, Maner and Minor.
The congregation made an effort to overcome the prejudice
against dark-skinned people prevalent in that period, but reading
between the lines, it was apparent that the whites were greatly
relieved when the Melungeons began an exodus to Tennessee.
According to the minutes, by 1807 most Melungeon families
were gone; eight had received letters of dismission, and five
others had been excommunicated for various unrepented sins.
The word “Melungins” was recorded in the minutes of the
church dated September 26, 1813 and is the oldest written reference
to them that I have found:
“September 26, 1813. Church sat in love. Bro. Kilgore,
Moderator. Then came forward Sis. Kitchen and complained
to the Church against Susanna Stallard for saying
she harbored them Melungins. Sis. Sook said she was
hurt with her for believing her child and not believing
her, and she won’t talk to her to get satisfaction, and both
is pigedish [pig-headedish] one against the other. Sis.
Sook lays it down and the church forgives her.”
Sister Susanna Kitchen was provoked with Susanna “Sookie”
Stallard for reporting that the Melungeons were visiting in her
home. Sister Susan “Sook” Kitchens joined the church September
26, 1812. Her child told Susanna Stallard the Melungeons
had been staying there. The church forgave her upon her repentance,
but the furor appeared to continue at the next meeting.
Stoney Creek was happy to see the Melungeons remove to Tennessee,
and some were chagrinned to have them return on visits
to Virginia. Some did not request dismissions, but simply returned
to Stoney Creek to worship upon occasions.
The closest ones lived near Kyle’s Ford, Tennessee 40 miles
downstream on the Clinch. With their primitive roads it would
be impossible for them to attend services at Stoney Creek and
return in one day. Someone had to be “harboring” them for perhaps
for more than one night at a time. Some members of
Stoney Creek sought a resolution to keep the Melungeons
attending church in Tennessee:
“October 23, 1813. Church sat and found in love. Bro.
Cox puts a question to the Church: ‘Whether it is in order
to live in the bounds of one church and to belong to another
church.’ The assembly determined ‘it not good to
bind any member in such cases.'”
Several blacks were members at Stoney Creek, Rhoda [Cox’s
black], William George and his two blacks; Luke Stallard’s
black.” “Feb. 26, 1809, ‘Can blacks testify against whites?’ The
church voted ‘yes.’
Concerning the use of the word Melungeon in these minutes, it
is obvious it was a common word well known to this community.
From the minutes, the following were the first people to
join Stoney Creek Primitive Baptist Church bearing Melungeon
“December 1801 “Nancy Gibson, received by letter.
Valentine Collins received by experience and baptised.
May the 22nd day 1802: Church meeting held at Stoney
Creek. Received by experance Nancy Brikey, Riley
Collins, Mary Large. Rachel Gibson, Thomas Gibson,
Beter Gibson, George Gibson, John Stuart and baptised.”
Three members of Stoney Creek are on the 1755 tax list of Orange
County, North Carolina. Listed were “mulattoes” Thomas
Gibson, George Gibson and Charles Gibson.
Four members of Stoney Creek reappeared on the 1810 tax list
of Hawkins County, Tennessee: Thomas Gibson, George Gibson,
Charles Gibson and Valentine Collins.
Using the minutes of Stoney Creek, you can note when
Valentine Collins and Charles Gibson left for Hawkins County.
“April the 21 day 1803, Bro. Valentine Collins and wife
to receive a letter of dismission, also Bro. Charles
Gibson and wife.”
Blackwater Primitive Baptist Church was located at Kyles Ford,
Tennessee in Hawkins County [present day Hancock County]
on the bank of the Clinch River. Organized in 1801, it was the
first church established in this section. The earliest minutes
found begin in 1816. We know by the minutes of Stoney Creek
who some of its members were.
“February the 26th day 1802. Thomas Gibson Excommunicated.
Sis. Vina Gibson obtained a letter of dismission
by letter of recommendation from Blackwater
Church. Sis. Mary Gibson obtained a letter of dismission.
Clary More received by experiance and baptised.
Dismissed in order.”
Thomas Gibson, listed as one of the Kings Mountain
militiamen, and George Gibson are distant grandparents in the
family research of Ruth Johnson, a member of Gowen Research
Foundation who lives in Kingsport. She is completing a book
about her life on Newman’s Ridge.
Charles Gibson, born in Virginia, moved to North Carolina and
later joined Stoney Creek Primitive Baptist Church June 26,
1802, then removed to Blackwater Primitive Baptist Church.
“Charles Gibson and wife, Rubin Gibson and wife, and Valentine
Collins and wife” received dismission to go down to
Blackwater Church. The earliest minutes found there begin in
1816, but none of these people are found in them, probably because
Greasy Rock Primitive Baptist Church had been subsequently
established at Sneedville, Tennessee.
Other churches mentioned in the minutes of Stoney Creek include
Glade Hollow Primitive Baptist Church, Deep Springs
Primitive Baptist Church at 3 forks of the Powell River mentioned
Aug. 1806 probably near Jonesville, Virginia and Moccasin
Primitive Baptist Church.
When the minutes of these sister congregations are found, they
may contain additional information about the Melungeons.
“Zephaniah Goans, free person of color” was recorded as the
head of a “free colored” household in the 1830 census of Roane
County, Tennessee, page 47.
In 1834, “Zephaniah Going” was a justice in Hawkins County,
Tennessee, He filed his Revolutionary pension application there
December 18, 1834.
Without any embellishment, my Melungeon grandfather simply
declared, “I was at the siege and present at the surrender of
Cornwallis at Yorktown.”
Fourteen children, 10 daughters and four sons, were born to
Zephaniah Goins and Elizabeth Thompson Goins. Children
born to them include:
John Goins born in 1792
Isaiah Goins born in 1795
Susan Goins born in 1800
William Goins born in 1805
2) Thomas Jefferson Gowen Got
A Second Chance in Texas
After killing two men in an 1887 dancehall shootout in Green
County, Kentucky, Thomas Jefferson Gowen kissed his wife
and children goodbye and lit out for St. Louis. The sheriff,
meanwhile, was searching for his twin brother, Henry Clay
Gowen who was originally suspected in the crime. In St. Louis
the 31-year-old fugitive bought a ticket on the St. Louis, San
Francisco & Texas Railway. At Frisco, Texas, he stepped off
the train to an uncertain freedom, according to Jessie Morgan
Gowen, his daughter-in-law.
The twins were born June 12, 1855 to Jonathan Henry Gowen
and Hannah J. Beasley Gowen in Stokes County, North
Carolina. The father, a native of Patrick County, Virginia, had
brought his family to Adair County, Kentucky about 1856.
At Frisco, Thomas Jefferson Gowen got a job on a farm, stayed
out of town and kept a low profile. Months later, when he
thought it was safe, he got word to his older brother, Andrew
Jackson Gowen of his whereabouts. He requested him to bring
his wife, Lucinda Margaret Floyd Gowen and their three children
By 1903 they had removed 20 miles south to Dallas where both
brothers were employed as “trunkmakers” by Henry Pollock
Trunk Company, according to the city directory. Andrew
Jackson Gowen returned to Kentucky, but Thomas Jefferson
Gowen remained in Dallas, opened a grocery in 1911 and
became a successful merchant. He never went back to
Kentucky, and many of his Gowen family had no inkling of his
He died in November 26, 1935 at age 81 leaving the widow the
grocery, two delivery trucks and an impressive $1,030 in the
bank. Lucinda Margaret Floyd Gowen died October 22, 1941 at
age 83, according to Dallas County Death Book 7, page 526.
Children born to them include:
Mary Alice Gowen born October 31, 1878
John Lemuel Gowen born February 3, 1880
Pearl Elmore Gowen born December 29, 1881
3) Dear Cousins
I was pleased to receive the Newsletter with an article about
my ancestor Daniel Goin of Washington County, Virginia. I
have been doing research on his great-grandson William
Thomas Goin who is my great-grandfather. My grandfather was
his son, William Arthur Goin. My father, was the oldest of the
11 children of William Arthur Goin and Mary Bessie Shaffer
Goin, all of whom I remember well.
When I complete the work I am doing on the family, I will
send a copy for the Foundation library and for inclusion in the
manuscript. I am enclosing my Foundation membership.
Marybelle Goin Lovelady, 1009 W. 7th St, Tyler, TX, 75701.
I attended the Melungeon lecture held October 7 in the high
school auditorium at Kingsport, TN and taped it so I could give
a complete report without misquoting anyone. The program
was presented by Dr. Brent Kennedy of Atlanta, Scott Collins of
Sneedville and Eloy Gallegos of Knoxville.
Dr. Kennedy stated that his Melungeon ancestors were originally
in what is now Alleghany, Ashe and Yancey Counties, NC
about 1720. They removed to the New River Valley in western
Virginia. This area today is Greenbrier, WV. Jack H. Goins,
Rt. 2, Box 275, Rogersville, TN, 37857
I am relatively new to genealogy, but in the last two years
have jumped in aggressively and found it to be very pleasurable,
educational and rewarding. I am trying to document every generation
of my enclosed Goen/Gowing 10-generation ancestor
chart, for I am interested in joining a few patriotic societies active
in New York City.
I am lacking evidence to prove that Charles Goen [b1837
New Ipswich, NH] was the son Noah Gowing [b1786 New Ipswich,
NH] and Eunice Burton Gowing. I have tracked down
Noah’s will, and Charles was listed as a beneficiary, but he was
not listed as “my son Charles.”
Does the Foundation [or any member] or anyone on your
computer network have information on these two generations
within your family records? I would be happy to accommodate
any costs involved. Tama Alexandrine Goen, 251 E 51st
Street, #11A, New York City, NY, 10022.
In a recent issue of “The Family Tree” published in Moultrie,
GA I learned of your coverage of the unfolding Melungeon
story in the Foundation Newsletter. I, too, am interested in the
research of this unusual group of people and wish you every
success in this endeavor. Oriole S. Maggard, 1020 Fontaine
Road, Lexington, KY, 40502.
I am very interested in learning more about the Melungeons.
I have tried several places and each refers me to your Foundation.
Is there a Melungeon Newsletter? Can you provide me
with a list of Melungeon sources, books, published articles, etc.
Stanley L. Brown, 1784 Cedar Glade Road, Hot Springs,
Gowen Research Foundation Newsletter
Arlee Gowen, Editor
Linda McNiel, Circulation
Gowen Research Foundation Phone: 806/795-8758 or 795-9694
5708 Gary Avenue E-mail: email@example.com
Lubbock, Texas, 79413 Internet: http://www.llano.net/gowen
NOTE: The above information produced by the Gowen Research Foundation (GRF), and parts of the “Gowen Manuscript” they worked on producing. It has tons of information – much of it is correct, but be careful, some of it is not correct – so check their sources and logic. I’ve copied some of their information in the past researching my own family, only to find out there were some clear mistakes. So be sure to check the information to verify if it is right before citing the source and believing the person who researched it before was 100% correct. Most of the information I found there seems to be correct, but some is not.
Their website is: Internet: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~gowenrf
There does not seem to be anyone “manning the ship” at the Gowen Research Foundation, or Gowen Manuscript site any longer, and there is no way to contact anyone about any errors. The pages themselves don’t have a mechanism to leave a note for others to see any “new information” that you may have that shows when you find info that shows something is wrong, or when something has been verified.
Feel free to leave messages about any new information found, or errors in these pages, or information that has been verified that those who wrote these pages may not have known about.